Haweswater by Ann Bowker200 feet deep, ½ mile wide, and 4 miles in length, Haweswater sits in the eastern Lake District in the valley of the same name. In 1824 Thomas Wilkinson wrote of the joys of his walk among the sheep and dairy farms in the valley of ‘Haws-Water’. In the 1930's the places he walked disappeared beneath the waters of a reservoir constructed to supply the city of Manchester. The dam, 1550 feet wide and 120 feet high, raised the level of the lake by 95 feet.

Haweswater drowned village of Mardale walls by Ann BowkerThe valley villages of Measand and Mardale Green were drowned. Mardale Green's 18th century Holy Trinity Church (some of its windows were placed in the reservoir tower) and the Dun Bull Inn were casualties. The pulpit from the church is at St Andrew's church in Stonethwaite. In years of drought some of the village features are discernable.

Haweswater and Harter Fell by Ann BowkerAfter the construction of the reservoir, conifer trees were planted on the surrounding landscape and now serve as shelter to wildlife. The RSPB has a nature reserve and hide on the western side of the lake at Riggindale. Golden eagles nest here. Other birds to watch for include wheatear, raven, ring ouzel and peregrine. The lake itself is a resting spot for a range of gulls and wildfowl.

Haweswater from above dam by Ann BowkerBecause the lake is a reservoir, activities on it are restricted. Wild brown trout, char, gwyniad, and perch can be caught from the banks of the lake. A license is required. A hotel built in 1937 sits beside the road and overlooks the water. The area is replete with prehistoric stones, cairns, and tumuli. At the northern end of the dam is a site known as ‘Giant's Graves’.

Hawestwater Dam and lookout cairn by Ann BowkerHaweswater is ringed by walks. The road on the eastern side is joined by the Mardale Corpse Road that runs from Mardale Head over Mardale Common to Rosgill. Coffins were carried on the backs of horses for burial at Shap. The western side is accessible only by foot and is dominated by the view of High Street, once trod by the Romans. Above Haweswater are broad bog areas covered with mosses ready to trap unwary walkers.

Haweswater from Harter Fell by Ann BowkerDevoid of settlements along its shores, Haweswater lies secluded in its Lakeland fells.

Haweswater is located on a dead end minor road from the A6 near Shap. Limited parking at road end.

Photos courtesy of Ann Bowker

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